Job fair held in Belfast to help Penobscot McCrum potato processing plant employees

Published: Apr. 12, 2022 at 6:00 PM EDT
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BELFAST, Maine (WABI) - It’s been nearly three weeks since the Penobscot McCrum potato processing plant in Belfast was destroyed in a fire.

That left over a hundred workers without a job.

Tuesday, the Maine Department of Labor along with the city of Belfast and several other organizations held a job fair to help get people back on their feet.

“There was a person leaving the building today who said I’ve been trying to get a job there for years. I came today, met them in person, and I left with a job,” said Dorothy Havey, Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce executive director.

Dozens of local businesses and hopeful employees gathered in Belfast Tuesday in hopes of doing just that.

“We’re here hopefully to find some new hires and just to be a part of our community and stand together to try and help some folks out,” said Annie Bussiere, Belfast Co-op HR assistant manager

From hospitality, to banking, to health care, companies like Huhtamaki were ready to offer jobs on the spot to those who qualified.

Huhtamaki HR Manager Paul Gendreau says the paper plate business is really good right now, and they need more staff to keep up with demand.

“Workers at this potato processing plant have the skills that we are looking for. The maintenance skills, the hands-on production type jobs as well as the administrative services and janitorial services,” said Gendreau.

Along with job opportunities, people were there to offer assistance with rent relief, health insurance, and job training.

The Belfast Soup Kitchen was also handing out free boxes of food to anyone who needed them.

“We’re trying to be at the right place at the right time to help people. So, presently, we are not at our beautiful soup kitchen, but this is another way to help, by putting these boxes of food together which have frozen meat and vegetables to help a family through a difficult time,” said Mary Brand, Belfast Soup Kitchen board of directors.

Havey says she’s not at all surprised with how quickly this all came together.

Everyone we spoke to says things like this are what Belfast is all about.

“It’s pretty amazing, this really. It hasn’t been that long, and just the sheer amount of people that are here I think is pretty phenomenal, just the amount of people who have come together who really want to help out. There are people here who don’t even have jobs open who are here just to support, and I think that’s pretty wonderful,” said Bussiere.

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